Spring Movie Preview: March 2014

March 7

300: Rise of an Empire

On the one hand, 300 was hilariously homoerotic, but on the other hand, it’s also one of the worst offenders on the Zack Snyder Scale of Rape Fantasy. This looks like more of the same.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The most Wes Anderson movie to ever Wes Anderson.

At this point, you’re either on board the Wes Anderson train (all carriage cars hand painted and decorated with vintage typewriters, personalized stationery and dip pens, and hand-blown Scotch tumblers) or you’re not. I am very much on board, especially with The Grand Budapest Hotel since it stars Ralph Fiennes in a rare comedic performance.

LA/NYC Only

Grand Piano

Full review here.

Limited/VOD

Jodorowsky’s Dune

A curiosity for fans of either Dune, filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, or just filmmaking in general, this documentary traces the doomed history of Jodorowsky’s attempt to adapt the sci-fi classic Dune for the big screen. It won’t captivate general audiences, but if you’re into any one of those three things, you’ll find something worth watching in Jodorowsky’s Dune.

Limited

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

This looks horrible, yet the reviews so far have been pretty decent, and it’s done well abroad. I have zero interest but I guess if you have kids it’s probably okay? I’d rather see The LEGO Movie again, though.

March 14

Bad Words

Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is about a forty-something guy who takes advantage of a loophole to compete in the National Spelling Bee, only he’s a jerk who says vile things to everyone around him, many of whom happen to be children. I’m a little worried that the extent of the joke is “grown man verbally abuses everyone around him”, but Bateman’s earned enough credit for this to warrant a look. I kind of wish there was a VOD option for this one.

Limited

Enemy

Before Jake Gyllenhaal and Denis Villenueve made Prisoners, they made Enemy, in which Jake G plays a man who spies his doppelganger in the background of a movie, seeks the man out, then slowly loses his mind because you should really never meet your doppelganger. Clearly Jake G was not a comic book reader. Anyway, Prisoners was pretty excellent and Jake G has been on a streak recently (End of Watch, Prisoners), and reportedly he’s even better in Enemy. Unfortunately it has a really weird release schedule and the vast majority of us are going to have to wait for it to hit on demand and/or Netflix later this year.

NYC Only

Need for Speed

The trailers look cool, like the kind of action car chase movie Drive seemed to be at first, but I’ve heard some not so great things about Need for Speed from advanced screenings. I really want it to do well, though, because Aaron Paul.

Veronica Mars

Made for the fans, by the fans, and of absolutely zero interest to anyone else.

Limited/VOD

March 21

Divergent

Will it be the next Twilight or even ascend to the heights of The Hunger Games? Or will it crash and burn like The Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures and The Host? There’s a lot of pressure on Divergent and I think it will fall somewhere between Twilight and The Mortal Instruments. Not a home run, but not a strike out, either.

Muppets Most Wanted

No Jason Segel this time around, but Muppets Most Wanted looks super cute and funny, and everyone always looks like they have a blast making these movies which in turn makes them fun to watch. Director James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords) is back, as is co-writer Nicholas Stoller, but composer Bret McKenzie (who won a Best Original Song Oscar for The Muppets) has been replaced by Christophe Beck (Frozen). Still, tons of high-quality people are involved and half of Hollywood cameos, so hopefully it upholds the bar The Muppets set. With bonus Tom Hiddleston.

Nymphomaniac: Volume I

Lars von Trier’s latest premiered at the Berlinale last month and people either loved it or hated it, which is pretty much the reaction to every movie von Trier makes. Personally I find his movies utterly unwatchable, but I don’t cavil at people who like them. Just not my bag. Speaking of bags, this is movie Shia LaBeouf made a sex tape for as a means of auditioning. Beef will do anything for his art.

Limited/VOD

March 28

Noah

Somehow a movie about Noah and the ark has become controversial. I don’t know if Christians are actually upset that director Darren Aronofsky took creative license with the story, but it seems more like a pre-emptive strike against anyone who might be upset by a less-than-literal interpretation of the Biblical story. It seems pretty insulting, frankly, like saying Christians are too dumb to understand that a short story in the Bible is going to need some filler to pad out a two hour movie. Anyway, this is either going to be a train wreck or a massive hit.

Sabotage

Hahaha, nice try. This isn’t a real movie.

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